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Kuwait imams to avoid references to conflicts

Interior ministry to limit granting visas to Egyptians

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait is to ask all its Friday imams and preachers not to refer to the political developments in the Arab countries in their sermons, a local report said.

The imams will also refrain from mentioning iconic figures in these countries under a ban to be conveyed to all the mosques ahead of the Friday prayers, Al Qabas daily said on Wednesday.

The new directives will be included in the revised Mosque Charter and imams and preachers who do not comply with them will be barred from delivering sermons in the future, the report said.

A source told the daily that the decision is to ensure that the mosques are not used for political purposes and that they should focus on promoting positive values and preventing negative attitudes.

The officials also wanted to avoid the country sliding towards incitement, sedition and divisions, the source added.

“There is a strong possibility that the endowments and Islamic affairs ministry would push for recording all Friday sermons to protect imams from abusive complaints,” the sources said.

Kuwait has taken several measures to ensure that the developments in Egypt do not spill over in the Arabian Gulf country where Egyptians make up the largest Arab community among the expatriate community.

Scores of Egyptian nationals work in the education sector and have strong links with local mosques.

The authorities this week deported nine Egyptians after they were found to have taken part in two unlicensed rallies in support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait City. Several others are being investigated.

Under Kuwait’s laws, foreigners are deported if they are involved in rallies or demonstrations. Citizens however do have a right to protest.

According to Al Kuwaitiya daily, the interior ministry is pushing for granting family or commercial visas to Egyptians only in very special cases until at least next month.

The decision to severely restrict visas is a precautionary measure following the involvement of several Kuwait-based Egyptians in unlicensed demonstrations and rallies in the capital Kuwait City, security sources told the daily.

Kuwait has supported the new leadership in Egypt after they ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in July.